Monday, November 02, 2009

Back to reality

So we’re back. The Enclave was jam-packed (note to self: buy a roof topper!) and left barely enough room for our backseat passengers (another note to self: everyone should pack less!) but by 9:15 Saturday morning we were all set to hit the road for our 13 hour ride north. We left from Sean’s sister’s house; we’d spent the last two days of our trip with her family so we could see one nephew’s soccer game (he scored a goal and they won!) and another nephew’s marching band performance at the high school football game (the band was great, the football team not so much). They live northeast of Atlanta so simply hopping on I-75 wasn’t an option. But there are several highways that eventually run into 75. We planned to take 85 to 26 to 40 to 640 which would put us on I-75 near Knoxville.

Best laid plans…

We were cruising right along and whizzed by a flashing DOT sign. Ditto to the second sign. By the time we tried to read the third we noticed it said something about I-40. We slowed down to read the fourth sign which said part of I-40 was closed due to a massive rock slide.

Are you kidding me?

After passing a fifth DOT sign we got off the highway near Asheville and bought a map. Sean was not satisfied with the map or GPS on my iPhone, and this Enclave wasn’t equipped with a nav screen. We aren’t familiar with that area because we rarely go that way so we had no idea if part of our travels would take us past the mile markers the signs kept screaming at us to avoid.

Long story short (sort-of): The part of I-40 that’s closed is most definitely the part we needed. The only solution was the detour spelled out by the NCDOT which added an extra 53 miles to our already 800 mile journey.

I was not happy. I was more not happy when, as we were maneuvering the detour, I got a call from my sister who said, “Oh, if I’d known you were going that way I would have told you about the road being closed.” Fabulous.

The kids did great. No one asked how much longer or uttered the dreaded, “Are we there yet?” Each seemed content to read or play a video game or sleep a bit. I, on the other hand, was going out of my mind. I am not a great car traveler and the thought of adding extra miles to an already extra long trip nearly put me over the edge. By Cincinnati I was hysterical. It was 7:00 and we still had five more hours to go! Our 13 hour trip was going to take 15 dadgum hours. Fifteen hours!

Thankfully we had the time change working on our side, a fact I stubbornly refused to acknowledge between Lima, Ohio and Ann Arbor because I was apoplectic over the length of the drive. By the time we’d gotten off 23 and hopped on 96 I’d calmed down and was resigned to the fact that this was, indeed, going to be the longest trip we’d made since moving, 4 ½ full hours off my record time of 11 hours, 30 minutes when I drove for six hours without stopping. So even though we didn’t get in until midnight it was actually 11 pm. And that extra hour certainly helped this morning when we got to sleep in a bit before getting up for church.

And as a dear friend reminded me at church this morning, we got home safely. No matter how long it took, we were granted traveling mercies. Not a fact to belittle in the least.

Just in case anyone's traveling that way, here's a handy dandy map: